Camping in Alabama most certainly is not camping in Arizona. Unlike Arizona and most of the west United States, Alabama offers very few free camping spots. While we spent our time in Alabama, here were the campgrounds we ultimately ended up at. For the most part, we had very good experiences in all of these places.
You’ll notice below the description of the campground, we added some quick info: Location, Price, Staff & Bathrooms. The location is for your reference, the price is what we paid (during the winter time), as well as the staff and bathrooms which are two important aspects for us. You’ll notice one spot has a lot of stars around it, that was our number one spot!
Dauphin Island, Alabama
This was one of our favorite spots as far as being a central location. Dauphin Island Campground is located on the East side of the island and is within walking distance of the following: Historic Fort Gaines, Alabama Aquarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Audubon Bird Sanctuary, Mobile Bay Ferry, and some of Alabama’s best white friendly beaches that are dog friendly!
We really enjoyed our stay here and loved how close it was to everything. They had some of the best bathrooms we have ever set eye on, and the groundskeeping crew was extremely friendly. If clean bathrooms are what you're looking for, this is the place!
Price: $38 per night (full hookup) Staff: Very friendly Bathrooms: Tremendous
Gulf Shores, Alabama
At eastern bottom of Alabama sits Gulf Shores. This area is very touristy and developed compared to Dauphin Island. There were very little options for camping in this area, and that led us to Gulf Shores State Park.
There are a total of 496 campsites here, nice bathrooms, laundry facilities, several social buildings, and a trail system that will take you from the campground to different parts of the park (bike/walk).
Overall, the campground was very well maintained/clean, but for how much it cost ($70 was a cheap site) combined with how many people there were, we would give this a pass next time we come through. That being said, there were numerous people we talked to who said they really enjoy the campground. Really depends on what you're looking for.
Price: $70 (cheapest option) (full hookup) Staff: Very friendly Bathrooms: Above Average
We faced a situation we don’t normally have when Grace’s brother and sister in law came to camp with us for four days. With us having the bus, and them in a tent, we needed a spot that would allow us both to be there without paying for two sites.
There are plenty of other options nearby, but this hipcamp was the only spot we found to accommodate our needs. The site offers full hookup (if needed), a nice patio area with a fireplace, and lots of grass to set up a tent.
The pictures in the bio are a bit misleading, and not directly on the water. That being said, there is an awesome walking trail that will take you right to the water about ¾ of a mile away! If you have dogs it’s important to note that Holly has two of them. That being said, she does a good job of making sure you have space and keeps the dogs out front.
Price: $49 a night (+tax)(full hookup) Owner: Holly was approachable and friendly Bathrooms: None
As we made our way North, our first stop took us to the Conecuh National Forest. The Open Pond campground was a peaceful area surrounded by walking trails and a lake. We only stayed here for one night, but we would definitely recommend checking it out!
Note: There are both hookup/ no hookup spots. Most of the no hookup spots are waterfront, but make sure you get there before 3pm if you want a chance at getting one!
Price: $16 a night (hookup)/ $8 a night (nohookup) Staff: No Contact Bathrooms: Average
Tuskegee National Forest Campsite #1
There are a handful of free camping spots in the Tuskegee National Forest. For the most part they are used primarily to hunters, but they are open to anyone. They aren’t the cleanest campsites, we did find more than a few pieces of glass. The roads getting to more of the campsites are dependent on weather and will become impassable (without a 4x4) when it rains.
Good little overnight spot if you find yourself in the Tuskegee area.
Price: Free Bathrooms: Not a ton of options (pack a bucket).
We had a lot of different people recommend this park. Overall it was a good experience because we were able to have a great couple of work days here (AWESOME wifi). There are a ton of different trails around the campground (mainly mountain biking), and it’s only a short walk down to the lake. There are a total of 36 hookup sites, and 10 primitive sites (tent only).
This is a nice little park, but felt it was a bit overrated. Bathrooms were in terrible shape.
Price: $35 a night Staff: Average Bathrooms: Terrible
***Jackson Lake Island Campground***
Talk about an awesome experience! If you have ever seen the Tim Burton movie, Big Fish, then you might know of the city called Spectre. This campground is literally the set of the movie and includes over 50 goats! If you have ever wanted to wake up in the morning and make a cup of coffee with some goat friends, this is the place! The owner was nice and friendly. He told us that the main RV spots were full, but they offered plenty of primitive spots on the island. If you can do primitive camping, we highly recommend it as you will be directly next to the movie set and away from all the people!
Don’t forget to bring some snacks for the goats! We found them to be very fond of sunflower seeds! Just make sure if you bring bagged snacks, take your bag with you! There are no trash cans located on the island section.
Price: $15 per person (hookup/ no hookup) Staff: Top Notch! Bathrooms: Clean and taken care of, but something was off with the water pressure
This campground was a great halfway point between Montgomery and Selma. The campground offered around 60 sites, but no primitive spots were brought up. The sites are very clean and spacious, with most of them having a great back door view of the river. There are two different boat ramps and a fish cleaning station which is very convenient if you like fishing! The only negative part of this spot was the bathrooms. They weren’t the worst we’ve seen, but they also aren’t bathrooms you look forward to using in the morning.
Price: $26 per night (full hookup) Staff: Friendly Bathrooms: Below Average
Home of the highest point in Alabama! When we arrived here, most of the camping was closed off because they had received snow and ice. We were given the okay, and they opened up some more campsites for us. There are plenty of sites to choose from in the developed area, and there is also a primitive camping area (closed for winter).
There are several different hiking trails in the area, and we could see it being very popular in the Spring and Summertime. Overall, a great stop to camp and experience the highest point in Alabama.
Price: $34 per night (full hookup) Staff: Very Friendly Bathrooms: Good
Even if you don’t camp here, come check out the Falls! This site was a steal for the price and you are only about a mile away from the base of the falls! There are lots of different hiking/biking trails in the area, and if you’re lucky you might see a black squirrel!
This campground was on the top of our list, and we couldn't recommend it enough. You will FREAK out when you see how clean the bathrooms are!
Price: $17 per night (full hookup) Staff: Very Friendly Bathrooms: Top Notch
Fort Payne, Alabama
Located 5 miles south of the waterfalls, this is a good spot near the waterfall as well as plenty of walking trails. There were very few people here at the time, but it could definitely be a busy spot in the Spring and Fall. Campsites and bathrooms were both in great shape, and the showers were plenty hot and had great water pressure. There is also primitive camping, but these were closed for winter.
Price: $43 per night (full hookup)/ Primitive Camping (Yes, when in season) Staff: Very Friendly Bathrooms: Very Nice
We had stayed at the lodge above the campground prior, so we had been looking forward to seeing what the camping was all about! Come to find out, primitive camping was still open here, which is a bummer because the spots were less expensive and away from the main camping area.
Our site had a great view of the lake and had plenty of wildlife to view from our front door. If you get the chance, this would be a great spot to try out for a night or two. Bring your fishing poles, Lake Guntersville has some of the best bass fishing!